Provincial Almoners Letter from Andover

Attendances at our meetings are very varied, some struggle to fill the offices while in other cases there is a very good number present. Members are still cautious in some cases and this is understandable because we know that the number of covid cases is on the increase again. I repeat, if you are aware of a brother whom you have not seen for a while please try and contact him to  ensure that he is well. I heard a story recently of a person, who had not been seen or who had not answered the phone or emails for a while and it was at the point of contemplating calling in the police when the said person answered the phone. It was of course a relief all round. It would appear that the man had suffered covid and did not feel he was up to being in contact with others. It is an extreme case but perseverance pays off.

I must express my thanks to W. Bro. Malcolm Collier, the Provincial Craft and Royal Arch Almoner, he has helped in a number of ways recently in getting assistance for brethren in need. Last evening I was speaking to him and he told me that the threshold of income for those who may make claims, through the MCF has risen so that there will be more brethren able to submit claims for consideration. He has also informed me that there will be a seminar on the Isle of Wight soon concerning mental health. An invitation will be sent to the Mark and RAM Lodge Almoners, with his blessing, as and when I have the date and venue. I visited the one in Eastleigh and found it very professionally presented and well worthwhile attending. It is good to be able to work closely with such an officer, he has continued the good work carried out by Neil Morse.

During the week I was subjected to a possible scam which appeared authentic. Please be on your guard, I received a telephone call allegedly from BT technical department. I was suspicious and terminated the call. Within minutes I received an email from BT with a pass code number, it was very authentic. I had not contacted BT for any advice. I telephoned BT security and received a very positive attitude, the person that I was speaking to was very patient and eventually I was happy that I had made the call. The phone number has now been blocked. I mention this as we all need to be on our guard and especially those who are busy and may drop their guard. I understand that a very similar scam is taking place regarding mobile phone companies. Please, please be careful, I am no expert but be wary.

Malcolm Lloyd, P.G.S.D., Prov. Grand Almoner